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Are Leaders born or bred into Leadership? This ancient question is no closer to being answered, as there is no single, adequate, or universally accepted definition of the concept of leadership itself. This makes leadership hard to research and difficult to teach or evaluate in any logical way.
And answering that question matters for organisations… if leadership is a quality that is born in some people, then resources should be spent on effective recruitment and selection rather than training. If leadership is a skill that can be learned, then training should be prioritised within the organisation. And can a leader who is trained in one industry or culture be an effective leader in another industry or culture, because if so then that has implications for recruitment & development of leaders in any organisation.
The smart money is on the interaction between nature & nurture – it is probably in the boundaries of being able to learn to be a leader but only if there is an innate desire to be a leader.
Anyone in an organisation can be a leader, irrespective of hierarchical position. Countless times a day, every employee will display leadership in some form or other by influencing others in their group.
Numerous studies have been conducted into the behaviours & traits of leaders, but there is no universal traits that will ensure good leadership across the spectrum of organisation contexts. Instead, it seems leadership – situation fit is key, by assessing the leadership demands of the specific organisational context and match them.
Not everyone is well suited to be a leader. In fact not everyone is interested in being a leader, being in front, providing the vision, energy, taking risks. Few people want to have others depend upon them relentlessly. As Steven Sample said “Many people want to be leader, but few want to do leader. If you are in the latter group you should stay away from the leader business altogether.”
An important part to consider in Leaders & leadership is the role of the followers, and their behaviour towards the leader and the organisation. Are the leaders’ followers clear on their role by following?
We devolve into more detail on a number of topics we raise here in our blog, discussing a number of theories & concepts or leadership, including leadership traits, situational leadership theory, contingency leadership theory, why leadership is less important than we probably think and biographies of famous leaders.
Since leadership is highly contextual, learning to be a leader is well suited to Executive Coaching as coaching allows you to develop different leadership skills and techniques, and work with a coach to understand what leadership skills and techniques would be more appropriate in which circumstances. Contact us today to discuss how we can help you develop your leadership skills.